New lawsuits filed against celebrities as time runs out for New York's Adult Survivors Act

Axle Rose, Jamie Foxx, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Bill Cosby are among those facing allegations

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Friday, November 24, 2023
New lawsuits filed against celebrities under NY's Adult Survivors Act
The Adult Survivors Act lets adult victims sue over attacks that occurred even decades ago.

NEW YORK (WPVI) -- More celebrities are facing lawsuits with just hours until a temporary New York law expires.

The Adult Survivors Act, which went into effect in late November 2022, lets adult victims sue over attacks that occurred even decades ago. The law has given adult survivors of sexual assault one year to file lawsuits against their perpetrators and is set to expire on November 24.

Axl Rose

A former Penthouse magazine model sued Axl Rose Wednesday, claiming the Guns N' Roses singer raped her in 1989.

Model and actress Sheila Kennedy, identified as the plaintiff in the complaint, alleges that Rose "violently" sexually assaulted her after they met at a New York City nightclub, and is suing the singer for an unspecified amount for battery, assault, gender-motivated violence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to the complaint, the incident occurred when Rose "was at the peak of his commercial success," and alleges he "used his fame, status, and power as a celebrity and performer in the music industry to gain access to manipulate, control, and violently sexually assault Kennedy."

The complaint describes an incident that took place in a New York City hotel room, where Kennedy alleges Rose, now 61, "knocked her to the floor," dragged her by the hair, restrained her hands and proceeded to sexually assault her "while he was in a sexual, volatile rage."

"Kennedy did not consent and felt overpowered," the complaint reads. "She understood that the safest thing to do was to lie in bed and wait for Rose to finish assaulting her."

As a result, Kennedy has suffered "severe emotional, physical, financial and psychological distress," according to the complaint.

"We expect that Sheila Kennedy's decision to file this suit will be an important turning point for the music industry," Dr. Ann Olivarius, chair of the executive committee at McAllister Olivarius, said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

"Her account is unfortunately all too typical of a culture of violence and sexual misconduct that has been allowed to exist in plain sight for decades. It's not just individual musicians stepping out of line, but an industrial system of enabling them and then covering up their misconduct and crimes, silencing survivors and normalizing sexual assault. We hope Sheila's bravery helps other victims find their voice."

Alan S. Gutman, the attorney for Axl Rose, shared a statement later on Wednesday to CNN, saying, "Simply put, this incident never happened."

"Notably, these fictional claims were filed the day before the New York State filing deadline expires. Though he doesn't deny the possibility of a fan photo taken in passing, Mr. Rose has no recollection of ever meeting or speaking to the Plaintiff, and has never heard about these fictional allegations prior to today," the statement continued. "Mr. Rose is confident this case will be resolved in his favor."

Kennedy is an actress and a model who has appeared on the cover of the adult magazine Penthouse. In 1983, she was featured as Penthouse's "Pet of the Year" model. She has previously outlined the allegations against Rose cited in Wednesday's lawsuit in her 2016 memoir "No One's Pet."

Rose is the lead singer for Guns N' Roses, a popular heavy metal rock band that formed in the mid-1980s with founding members Slash, Duff McKagen, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler. Guns N' Roses has been nominated for three Grammys and is known for hits such as "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City."

Cuba Gooding Jr.

In two lawsuits also filed Wednesday, two women accuse actor Cuba Gooding Jr. of groping them in 2018 and 2019.

Jamie Foxx

Actor Jamie Foxx faces sexual assault and battery charges in a lawsuit filed on Monday with the New York State Supreme Court.

The alleged incident occurred in 2015 at Catch NYC, a popular New York City restaurant, according to the complaint obtained by CNN.

CNN has reached out to representatives for Foxx as well as the plaintiff's attorney.

The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, claims in the suit that Foxx "intentionally and without consent used force to offensively touch Plaintiff's person," including groping her breasts and genitals. The complaint alleges Foxx seemed "intoxicated" at the time of the incident.

As a result, the complaint states the woman suffered and continues to suffer "physical and emotional injuries, anxiety, distress, embarrassment and economic harm," and is seeking an unspecified amount.

The plaintiff is also suing the restaurant's parent company, Catch Hospitality Group, and various related business entities as defendants for negligent hiring, training and supervision.

A representative for the company was not immediately available for comment.

Bill Cosby

A woman who previously accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault has filed a lawsuit against him.

In 2014, journalist and publicist Joan Tarshis told CNN the actor had sexually assaulted her decades prior, when she was a teenager. Those alleged incidents are repeated in the lawsuit filed Friday in New York County Supreme Court.

The lawsuit accuses Cosby of battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment. Tarshis is seeking unspecified damages.

Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt said he had no comment on Tarshis' allegations.

"(T)hese Look Back Windows are like a pandemic to successful, wealthy men in America," Wyatt said in a statement to CNN. "When will our lawmakers stop fueling this assault for likes and clicks?"

In 2014, when Tarshis joined a group of other women accusing Cosby of sexual assault, a lawyer for Cosby at the time addressed "discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby" that had resurfaced.

"The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true," attorney John P. Schmitt said in the 2014 statement. "Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment."

Tarshis met Cosby around 1969, when she was a young comedy writer and he was starring in "The Bill Cosby Show," according to the lawsuit.

Tarshis says she visited the studio where the sitcom was filmed after Cosby offered to work with her on a skit. When the two were alone in his bungalow, she drank a beverage Cosby gave her and then lost consciousness, the lawsuit says.

Tarshis woke up to Cosby undressing her, the lawsuit alleges. She fought him and pleaded for him to stop, but the lawsuit claims Cosby made her perform oral sex on him.

At the time, Tarshis did not tell anyone about the assault due to safety concerns and her feelings of "shame, embarrassment, and humiliation," the lawsuit says.

Around 1971, Cosby called Tarshis' home to invite her to one of his shows and spoke with her mother, who didn't know about the prior incident, according to the court documents.

Although she was scared to see Cosby again, Tarshis "reluctantly" accepted his invitation "at the insistence of her mother," the lawsuit says.

Tarshis had two drinks with Cosby before the show and then started to feel weak as the show began, the lawsuit claims. Aided by Cosby's driver, she went back to Cosby's limousine and lost consciousness, the lawsuit alleges.

"When Ms. Tarshis awoke, it was the next morning, she was in Manhattan, and she was naked in a bed next to Cosby, who was also undressed," the lawsuit says, claiming Cosby raped her while she was unconscious.

Tarshis alleges Cosby's "predatory, abusive, manipulative, and unlawful acts" have caused physical and severe psychological injuries, economic losses, and other negative impacts, according to the court documents.

In 2018, Cosby was convicted in Pennsylvania of sexual assault in another case and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in a state prison. He was released from prison in 2021 after Pennsylvania's highest court overturned that conviction, saying Cosby's due process rights were violated.

Other women have also come forward with sexual assault allegations under New York's adult survivors law. Last December, five women - including two former actresses on "The Cosby Show" - filed a lawsuit in New York state court accusing Cosby of sexual assault and abuse dating back decades. A spokesperson for Cosby has denied the allegations.

More than 2,500 lawsuits have been filed under the temporary law this past year, including against Former President Donald Trump, Sean "Diddy" Combs and actor Russell Brand.

RELATED: Sean 'Diddy' Combs faces 2nd lawsuit, accused of sexual assault and revenge porn

Trump, Combs, and Brand have denied the allegations.

CNN contributed to this report.